"Do weapons training as though empty-handed;
train empty-handed as though with weapons"
Bay Marin Aikido encourages all students to train with the Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo, both of which will enhance the student's experience of Aikido.
Aiki-ken and Aiki-jo
Ken and Jo suburi, kata, and paired forms
|O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido, was adept with sword and staff, and he often demonstrated that Aikido techniques could be executed either empty-handed or with the bokken or jo.
His student, Morihiro Saito Sensei, carried on the tradition of executing Aikido techniques identically regardless of whether a weapon was used or not. And he further taught that training with the weapons fostered a precision, power, and keen sense of timing that vastly aided in the learning of empty-handed Aikido.
Saito Sensei made the great contribution of organizing the Founder's weapons training practices into a systematic set of elements that could be preserved and passed on to future generations.
It is important to note that the primary goals of Saito Sensei's curriculum are not to learn sword fighting or stick fighting for use in combat situations. Rather, the weapons training, both solo and partner practices, are designed to help the student develop a strong sense of timing, spatial awareness, and connection with a partner; to learn to stay in sync with a partner, while the weapon becomes a natural extension of one's own body.
As a certified teacher of Saito Sensei's weapons system, Goto Sensei offers instruction in all of the levels of Aikido weapons taught at the Iwama dojo. (See Saito Shihan's own list) These include:
Fundamental moves, or Suburi, 7 for bokken and 20 for the jo
Happo Giri, 8-direction strike
The 31 and 13 count jo katas
The 31 jo kata partner practice
The set of 10 jo partner practices, or kumi jo
The set of 5 bokken partner practices, or kumi tachi
The Ki No Musubi no Tachi bokken blending practice
A variety of awase, or blending movement, partner practices with both bokken and jo
A variety of empty-handed sword and jo take-away techniques
(Saito Shihan's) Ken tai Jo, bokken and jo partner practices